Stuff Under the Header


Sensitive Content

Since I no longer work outside (and haven't for a few months), I don't have as many bird stories to tell. Though I do go outside during every lunch break, every work day. It doesn't take long for the birds to notice me and approach, in some cases, the moment I walk outside. However, a lot of the birds that know me aren't around right now either. Due to the seasons changing, a lot of them are moving around. There's far more birds here during the later seasons, but they're only here temporarily so nearly all of them have never seen me before. It's still nice to have my few birds left though that stay here year round.

Chapter 19 Stuff
I've quickly come to find that this chapter's content has been some of the hardest to work on in any project I've had. I mentioned two posts ago what this chapter is about (essentially me), so it's more expressive than any other segment of the game. A lot of plot related events also mean something to me and express how I feel about certain topics. Maybe no one will understand it or be able to derive any meaning from it all, and honestly, I'm okay with that.

Some of the content is hard to work on though, for various reasons. In a plot related sense, the more I think about how the events of chapter 19 unfold, the more I don't want those events to happen. They will though, because it's what I think should happen and it closely ties into how I feel about what those segments of the chapter mean.

Moreso than that, there's a specific level that is rather hard for me to work on. It isn't something I can work on or even think about in too much detail before going to sleep. I don't want to give away what I'm doing and why though. It's just a weird thing to work on and that it even has that effect on me at all. It does make sense to me why though, considering what it is. Once the game has been out for a bit, I'll definitely come back to this topic and talk about why this is, as it isn't going to be covered in any dev notes on enemy scans.

One slight spoiler, that isn't too much a spoiler because anyone that's played DT1 will most likely see it returning. A Primary Memory like level occurs during chapter 19 as well. There's a lot that happens during this chapter, but comparatively, chapter 20 is much shorter, especially considering it's just the final level. And that has a very different focus than chapter 19, in every way, story and gameplay mechanics. Especially gameplay, there's a fairly large change that is present for almost the entire level.

For any of you that have been part of creative works, have you ever felt very attached to what you're working on? Or that the content is so personal that it's hard to work on it?


Where Did September Go

It went by way too fast. I feel like I didn't accomplish much for DT3 this month. Oh well, progress was still made at least.

Zelda Warriors Dynasty Battle Rifle
Dynasty Warriors: Zelda Edition is fun. It is exactly like Dynasty Warriors except a bit better because you can actually tell friend from foe at a glance because everyone and everything are so diverse and of course, iconic. That and the field isn't just an ocean of silver armored dudes. Endless waves of the same armored dude, both their side and your side. The gameplay is also more fluid than any other Dynasty Warriors game I've played, though I haven't played any in the last two years, so I don't know if that was already addressed before Hyrule Warriors.

Mother 4
So this game is coming out pretty soon. It's an unofficial continuation of the Mother series, if you're already a fan of those games, you've probably already heard of this project. They've worked on it for quite some time and one I'll be playing when it's released. My goal is to have DT3 done after this game is done. I think I can do that. (There is no typo there.)


Into the Future

For the past year, of all the upcoming content left to make, Chapter 19 is what I've been most looking forward to. Every chapter in the game has some sort of theme to it and I try to stick to that with all of its content. Some of it is subtle, and not so much. With Chapter 19, it's pretty easy to say what it is and without giving any spoilers. There's no way to say it plainly without it sounding egotistical I think, but it is what it is.

The chapter is essentially about me. More specific, it's about my thoughts and fears. About my thoughts on video games and where I think they're going. I don't expect to be able to pull it off 100%, but I think I can get at least some of those inner thoughts into the game properly, and this time without them being tainted by sarcasm and satire like I usually do.

I don't think I need to say anything more about it. I hope to be able to pull it off well, and I think I can.


The Next Part; in a totally serious manner

Now that Chapter 19 content has my focus, the game's completion doesn't feel so far away anymore. So for this post, I'd like to talk about all the exciting news and happenings coming up for the game!

From now until October 15th, if you pre-order DT3, you will be rewarded with exclusive in-game content such as the incredibly powerful "Double Awesome" attack that Jerry can perform!

There's two of him, that's twice as amazing!

You will also be granted, for free, yes free, the "No Bird Mode" that millions of you have requested. I know many of you don't find birds an attractive part of your everyday gaming experience, and I wouldn't want to impede on that. In fact, I'll be including DLC for removing all forms of self-expression.

As you can see, the world is bird-free.

Pre-orders made after October 15th, but before the game's extremely anticipated released date will still be given the much sought after "No Bird Mode"! For anyone that prefers not to preorder, the above features can still be obtained through DT3's all new "I want your money" mode, where you can download exciting options for the game, all fairly priced!

Just a look at some of the amazing DLC to come is the "No Death Mode" where the player is immune to losing! Because who needs skill when you have money!? For five real dollars, this mode will remove all the frustrations and sadness from the game, while still retaining all its fun!

While I know I shouldn't announce it this soon, but DT3 pre-orders will be 67% off during Black Friday, and 33% off during the following weekend!

And there are even some very awesome exclusives coming up for both Intel and AMD users. For Xbo, err Intel chip users, you will have access to various hat cosmetics in various colors for Jerry! Those of you unfortunate enough to have AMD will be able to access various cosmetics for Claire! Just press the Spacebar during any moment in the game and a very welcoming window will pop up presenting you with the "I want your money" mode, where all these wonderful, and well priced I might add, cosmetics are available for purchase! These cosmetics will all be exclusive to their conso... err processing chip until April 1st, 2016!

Hat! That's more meta than you think.
I'll continue with my real posts now.


Almost Done With Another Big Segment

These were taken last week. The young male grackle is getting bigger and his dark feathers are coming through now. He's not very aggressive and is very shy, unlike the younger female grackle that's closest to me in the second image. She ate out of my hand yesterday. I'm a bit apprehensive about the younger grackles eating straight from my hand because they lack self control and get a bit too excited; which results in them biting my hand instead at times.

They may look unhealthy, but that's just how younger grackles appear.

Chapter 18
I have one more map to finish/fix up for Chapter 18 and everything will be done there. The end of it is a short segment that is pure platforming. No gimmicks and no tricks. It feels weird to go from what Chapter 18 was, to a basic level, but it all feels pretty good. It also sets up something that I feel is going to be pretty awesome in Chapter 20.

I was going to have the support bots show up in Chapter 18, but with all the things presented there, I felt it would be better to push their reveal back to Chapter 19. The new groups of enemies introduced have some nifty and complex dynamics that Chapter 18 didn't even fully cover. They're the group that the player is playing against most of the time in these final chapters. There's still a small number of them to be revealed after this as well. The support bots can make even the most simple scenario into something far more complex. I have a feeling that they'll probably need to be scaled back a bit, but I'll see how the testers feel about them. They've been ready for a super long time so finally coming to the point to use them is pretty nice. I mixed a single shielding bot with a group of two Rocketeers. (That thing you saw in the latest video.) That situation was scary. If you don't know or remember from previous posts. A shielding bot can pick an ally of its faction and shield them, causing that ally to be completely invulnerable. The bot has to be close to its target to shield them. It's not this specifically that makes them hard to deal with, it's how they prioritize targets. The healer bots moreso. Luckily the support bots have a rule that they cannot target other support bots. I tried them without that rule and... fuck that.

Useless Info About DT3
- There are more boss fights than DT1 and DT2 combined. I'd say for the most part, they are all better.
- There are more event flags in the pre-end game chapters (1-15) than DT1 and DT2 combined.
- The Gate G (Gate 6 Nightmare level) boss has the most HP of anything in the game, but can be defeated the quickest. (To my knowledge.)
- It should also be noted that the Gate G boss will result in so much fan rage, which delights me greatly.
- There are over 100,000 lines of code.


Another Progress Report

The blog reached over 100,000 views the other day. Some of that is from a handful of google bots. (I typically see about 10% of the 'traffic' from those.) It's how I find sites where people link to the blog and where people are talking about the game.

Chapter 18 has a small handful of maps left to make and script for. Spoilers to the testers, there's another boss encounter. Things aren't done yet. That said, it's pretty much done. When looking over what's made compared to the original plan, I wasn't surprised that what I actually made was pretty different than what was planned.

Without spoiling things: Originally it was going to be more story driven, with bits of dialogue mixed in and somewhat frequent short stops. This isn't what happened at all and lately I've been playing around with more interactive cutscenes. They're nothing that AAA titles do, but that isn't the focus here at all. Scripted cutscenes take a long time to do right and my engine is not built for it. I haven't given myself a lot of tools to develop them rapidly like I can for levels and AI. I find that interactive sequences (where the player has control, but they really can't change the outcome of the situation/story) are actually easier to do in my engine. Forcing the player object to move during cutscenes is tricky because when the game is paused, all the player physics are told to stop, and while that's actually an easy fix, I won't bother with it. There are very few times where I forcibly move the player object without player consent. I don't like doing it actually. The most I do with DT3 is move the player object a short distance left or right. Like the stuff that happened just before the Quick Time Distorter in DT1. I much more prefer to do something like what happens at the end of the Shroud Lord fight with the spike walls closing in. Of course the things I'm doing now are much different, I simply mean I like giving the player control of the character during something like that, even if they technically can't do anything to change the situation. (Note: There was some redundancy in that long paragraph.)

So what actually happened in Chapter 18 is a lot of almost no cutscenes at all. The dialogue is very condensed and occurs rarely. There's even sequence that the player can skip by entirely where two characters are chatting, but don't know the player is there. The player will probably stop, but I find it actually felt right to let them simply pass that conversation by if they wanted. It's simple I know, but DT3's end content is stepping in that direction a lot.

No screenshot this time, but hey, there's a spider drone that can reverse its gravity and stick to the ceiling. How fucking awesome is that?


Development Progress on DT3

There's that young male grackle from before. His darker feathers are coming out.

I'm getting to the end of Chapter 18 content, which means just two more and I can finally move onto the final stage of development. That is making the game more presentable and fixing all the things that I know will bother people. The game won't be perfect, and I know bugs will slip through. I'll be doing my best to minimize that of course. There's going to be a point where I'll just have to say, "I'm done and I need to move on." I don't know what that point will be, but it'll happen.

Sound is the biggest thing missing from the game. A lot of sounds simply aren't there, or sounds aren't final. There's a video posted below that showcases sounds not being final. Jerry fires off the Shotgun Ice that uses the X-Buster sound as a placeholder. Little things like that.

There's a lot of little effects that still need to be put in. During DT1 development, I was afraid of using too many particles because I kept thinking they would lag the game, so effects that requires a lot of little particles didn't happen often. The thing is, those kinds of things did lag DT1 when I tried them. There were two reasons, my particle system was incredibly inefficient. I was using code that took more cpu time when there were far better options. The other reason is DT1 started on Game Maker 6.1, whose interpreter and sprite drawing functions weren't even close to how fast they are now. Game Maker has improved a ton since then. Frame rate was a thing in DT1 both because GM 6.1 wasn't very fast, and my coding practices were far worse than they are now.

I've been slowing adding in bits of sound and visual effects here and there, but I really haven't devoted that much time to them, because the rest of the game has just been more important. When all the game's content is set, I can then see exactly what I need in terms of sound and improved visuals.

Here's a video, the video info on youtube has more info.